Gauff ousted in Indian Wells semis; Swiatek rolls



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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Maria Sakkari outlasted Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 after blowing three match points in the second set of their rain-delayed semifinal Friday night to reach the BNP Paribas Open final.

Sakkari will play top-ranked Iga Swiatek in Sunday’s final. Swiatek routed Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-1 to improve to 19-2 this year, with her match wins leading the WTA Tour.

Swiatek has beaten Sakkari in three of their five meetings.

There were delays of 20 minutes and two hours during the semifinal between third-seeded Gauff and ninth-seeded Sakkari.

Sakkari broke Gauff twice in taking a 5-2 lead in the second set. But Gauff won four straight games and fought off three match points in the 10th game to take a 6-5 lead.

Sakkari held to force the tiebreaker in which she fell behind 6-2 before Gauff won it, 7-5.

There were break points in each of the first six games of the third. After dropping serve to open the set, Sakkari twice broke Gauff and then held for a 4-1 lead. She held again to go up 5-2 and then one hour and 10 minutes after her first three match points, Sakkari hit a forehand winner to set up her fourth. She closed out the match on Gauff’s forehand error.

Swiatek won the 2022 tournament as part of a 37-match winning streak. She had advanced to the semis when Caroline Wozniacki retired trailing 6-4, 1-0 in their quarterfinal. Swiatek has lost just 17 games through the semis.

Kostyuk hit 17 winners to 14 for Swiatek in the match. But Swiatek was better in nearly every other facet and didn’t face a break point. Swiatek connected on 74% of her first serves, won 83% of her first-serve points and 50% of her second-serve points on a cool and windy evening in the Southern California desert.

“It was the cleanest match I played here,” Swiatek said in an on-court interview. “I didn’t really have any moment today in the match where I didn’t feel confident.”

In the men’s doubles final, Nikola Mektic of Croatia and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands defeated fifth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4). The winning pair split $447,300.



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